NEW YORK (AP) _ Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley said he has required anesthesia for treatment of his irregular heartbeat, but his doctor reaffirmed that he is fit to be president, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Bradley, 56, has known he has a heart irregularity known as atrial fibrillation since 1996.

Three times after attacks of fibrillation, Bradley has needed a procedure known as cardioversion, in which the heart is jolted with electricity to snap it back into normal rhythm.

Before undergoing a cardioversion, a patient is made unconscious for several minutes with an anesthetic and sedative to avoid feeling the burning pain from the jolts of electricity, the Times said.

In an interview with the paper, Bradley recalled: ``They give you anesthesia, you kind of drift, and then when you wake up they say you are back in rhythm. When you wake up, you are completely alert, you can function.''

Asked what he would do if he needed such a procedure as president, Bradley told the paper he might have to invoke the 25th Amendment, using its provisions to turn over executive power to his vice president temporarily.

``Interesting, I do not know,'' Bradley said. ``I have not thought of that.'' He added that ``the 25th Amendment sounds a reasonable way to go,'' but that this was ``a decision that I can make down the road a little bit.''

Bradley's doctors told the paper he is in excellent physical condition and that his bouts of irregular heartbeat were not a serious threat to his health or to his ability to be president.

Bradley ``should be able to function perfectly fine as president,'' said Dr. Robert H. Heissenbuttel, his personal physician at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

On Friday, Bradley said he experienced another irregular heartbeat episode several days earlier. It was his fifth in the past month, but didn't require a doctor's attention.

Bradley disclosed on Dec. 10 _ after he had to cancel a campaign event because his heart wouldn't stop racing _ that he has the condition since 1996. The former senator called the condition a minor irritation, and said he hadn't felt the need to reveal his condition.